Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A week in Instagram

What a crazy week it has been! Between Christmas and my birthday, my fiancee and I have not had five minutes in our apartment. Anyway, here's what the last week has looked like!

P.S - Stay up-to-date with my by following my on Instagram and Twitter!

1. After setting the table for Christmas eve dinner.

2. Christmas day at home with my parents. As I've gotten older, I've found that there really is no place like home for the holidays.

3. The charm on my new sweater from Beryll.

4. Loving Sephora's packaging this year!

5. Organized Jelly Belly by flavor. Perfect for picking out the flavors I like, and trashing the rest.

6. Sporting a few of my favorite things: curls, pearls, and my new J. Crew field jacket for my mom's Christmas party.

7. Celebrating my birthday a day early with a pomegranate lime margarita.

8. Patiently waiting to explore Kate Spade in Tyson's Corner.
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Monday, December 30, 2013

Wrapped up in Cashmere

Poncho: Beryll
Pants: J. Crew
Tank: J. Crew
Shoes: C. Wonder
Necklace: vintage

The last week or so, my office has been virtually empty. It's a combination of everyone taking off for the holidays, and having people working from home (myself included). So, when I actually had to go in on Friday for a couple of hours, I wanted to wear something super comfortable. 

This Christmas, I got this luxurious cashmere cardigan. Immediately when I opened it, I knew it would be the perfect piece for travelling. However, I was ready to wear it now. So, I threw it on with a thin tank underneath. Honestly, it's probably the softest thing I've ever worn. It was like throwing a blanket over your shoulders and bundling up. My aunt got a great deal by buying it from Jill's Steals and Deals, so I would definitely recommend investing in one if you can find it at the right price. Of course, no comfy outfit is complete without a pair of minnie pants, so with those on, I was ready to go.
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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Black Out, Happy Birthday, Matte About You

With the holiday season, I had been wearing a lot of bright red polish. But now, I'm honestly quite sick of it. So, I went for a color on the complete opposite end of the spectrum: black. When I was younger, I had always felt like the only people that wore black polish were goth (#naive), but now I've found it's one of the only colors that I feel like can be worn year round.

My go-to basic black polish is "Black Out" from Sally Hansen. Unlike most blacks, it's not streaky, and only takes about two coats to be opaque. Next, I applied a thin layer of "Happy Birthday" from Deborah Lippmann. It's only fitting because my birthday is tomorrow, and sparkles are a necessity for festive New Years nails. However, instead of finishing with my usual Seche Vite clear top coat, inspired by this pin I decided to go matte. It can be a little bit trickier to finish with matte polish, but the end result is completely worth it.  
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Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Perfect Puffer Vest

Vest: Eileen Fisher
Shirt: Lord and Taylor
Scarf:  Kate Spade
Pants: Michael Kors
Shoes: Vera Wang

After my second long vacation within the past two weeks, it was seriously difficult to wake up this morning to head into work. The temperatures are back to normal for December (read: frigid), the holiday season is soon coming to a close, and things at work are picking up again. I knew there was hardly anyone going to be in the office today, so I went for a very comfy casual style. It's a bit dressed down from my normal work attire, but still appropriate for my environment.

I got this tweed vest in New York last week, and I'm absolutely in love with it! I've already worn it four times. I've been on the hunt for a nice puffer vest for several months now; one that was filled with a light down, could be worn easily with any other color, and was at the right price. When I finally found this one, I knew I had hit the jackpot. So far, I've worn it with long sleeve shirts, button-ups, and knit sweaters, but I know I'll be getting even more wear out of it within the coming months. For today though, it pairs perfectly with a baby blue longsleeve, a colorful floral print scarf, and dark wash denim.
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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Oh, Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas! I'm looking forward to spending the day with my family, eating too many sweets, and snuggling by the fire. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Turquoise and Leopard

Dress: Tahari
Belt: Michael Kors
Shoes: C. Wonder
Necklace: Lilly Pulitzer

After going on a major spending spree in NYC last week, walking in my closet every morning feels like I'm going shopping all over again! There's so much too choose from, I am nearly overwhelmed by the options - but not quite. Instead of having that "there's nothing to wear feeling," I actually feel inspired. I know the feeling isn't going to last much longer than a few weeks, but I'm savoring it while I can.

Today, this turquoise shirt dress really popped out at me from my rainbow wall of dresses. I normally get dressed when it's still pretty dark out, so I'm always looking for a bright pop of color to catch my attention. Now, on it's own, I think this dress is pretty shapeless. Thanks to the addition of a chunky belt, it's easy to give this dress a more fitted appearance. For finishing touches, I threw on my leopard pumps and gold key necklace, which have been on heavy rotation this week. Next week, I'm really going to be looking forward to just hanging out in lounge wear!
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Feeling Blue

Shirt: Theory
Camisole: Gap
Necklace: Claire*s
Skirt: Tommy Hilfiger
Shoes: C. Wonder

Don't you just love when you buy a new piece of clothing, and you can instantly think of how you're going to wear it with other pieces that you already own? That's how you know you've made a good purchase, and you won't regret it. Just recently, I got this sweet polka dot pencil skirt on mega sale from Tommy Hilfiger, and  quickly started brainstorming how I would wear it first.

I've kind of been on a button up kick, so my first idea was to pair my new skirt with my favorite blue oxford. If you know me, then you know I love a good monochromatic look - it works on any body type, and is so easy to pull together quickly (ideal for when you wake up groggy on cold winter mornings). However, I didn't want to go over the top with the blue. So, I added these chunky leopard print heels from C. Wonder for an unexpected twist. Typically, I am always insecure that mismatching patterns won't work, but somehow, they almost always do!  

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Sweater

Sweater: Lord and Taylor
Shirt: Ralph Lauren
Pants: J. Crew
Headband: Juicy Couture
Earrings: Charter Club
Shoes: Vera Wang

I've been looking for the perfect holiday sweater for what feels like forever. Something pretty and cheery that would be an easy piece to pull out whenever I couldn't think of anything festive to wear from Thanksgiving through Christmas. So, when I found this cashmere sweater in the clearance racks at Lord and Taylor, I couldn't believe my luck! 

I was instantly attracted to the deep, hunter green color. It's kind of hard to tell in the photos what shade of green it is, but in person it's quite pretty, and stood out to me from the traditional ruby red hue seen most frequently during the time of the year. Plus, the shoulder detail combines some of my favorite things - sequins, pearls, and rhinestones. I thought this sweater really lends itself to a preppy look, so I paired it today with a plain white oxford, minnie pants, and simple black flats. However, I know this is going to be great paired with jeans tucked into riding boots, a wool mini skirt, or khakis. Now, how early is it acceptable for me wear this again?
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A week in Instagram

 It's been a busy last couple of weeks, but here's what things have looked like through Instagram.

P.S - Stay up-to-date with me by following me on Instagram or Twitter!

1. Sibling selfie on Thanksgiving.

2. The Christmas tree in Reston Town Center.

3. Leaving Baltimore after seeing a show in the city.

4. Obligatory snow photo while working from home in my childhood bedroom.

5. The view out of our hotel in NYC!

6. Dessert at one of my favorite spots in NYC - Heartland Brewery.

7. Christmas in Rockefeller Center.

8. And in Bryant Park (you're sick of the tree photos, I get it. I'm done!)

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Monday, December 16, 2013

NYC Getaway

I've only taken two vacation days this whole year, so I was really looking forward to my four day vacation this past week to New York City with my mom and aunt. Ever since I was 9 or 10, we've gone at least twice a year to see a couple of shows, shop until we drop, and try new restaurants. While I was in college though, it became much more difficult to attend our winter trip, as it was always most convenient for them to go when I was preparing for finals. 

This was the first time I've been able to go during the holiday season in several years, and I had the BEST time. We saw Motown and Kinky Boots, spent six hours going through every clearance rack in Lord and Taylor, and braved the snow and wind to check out the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. It's going to be a struggle to go into work this morning, but these photos are a great reminder of the wonderful trip I had. I hope everyone had a great weekend - it's the last full work week for me until Christmas!

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Sample Sale and No-el If I Know

Sample Sale from the Sephora by OPI 2011 winter collection is my nail polish of choice during the holiday season. It is the perfect shade of red - not too deep, not too bright, just a touch of shimmer, and great shine. As usual, I was looking for a new polish combination to test out, and decided to use No-el If I know from the same collection. The glitter in this polish is very fine, and would work a lot a better layered over another solid color. It's still pretty, but I think next time I would just layer this over Sample Sale.

What is your favorite polish during the winter months? I'm looking to try some new colors, and would love some suggestions!

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Inspired by Disney: Belle

Dress: Tahari
Shirt: J. Crew
Headband: Juicy Couture
Shoes: Vera Wang

As of recent, I've been drawing nearly all of my outfit inspiration from Pinterest. I mean, why bother wasting my brain cells trying to figure out what to wear in the morning when the Internet is at my disposal 24/7? Anyway, today's post for instance, is inspired by this pin of Disney princess inspired outfits. As a child of the nineties and a girly-girly to boot, I've always loved the princesses, but Belle in particular was one of my favorites. 

Honestly, I think it's pretty difficult to wear a Disney princess inspired outfit outside of Halloween. Most of them reveal way too much skin (I'm looking at you Jasmine and Pocahontas), or are wearing big frou-frou dresses that are in no way workplace appropriate. Belle though, she's one practical girl, or at least she was until she moves in with the beast. 

As a result, that made today's outfit simple and easy to put together. Plain blue jumper, check! Long sleeve white-tee, comfy black flats, and black leather headband? Check, check, check! I really wanted to tie a silky white ribbon around my waist to make up for the lack of smock, but I couldn't find the one I've used in the past. Regardless, I think my outfit was pretty spot on. Not so noticeable that "Belle" was the first thing that popped in my coworkers minds when they saw me this morning, but enough that I felt like a princess for the day.
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pin Tested: Pumpkin Cake with Cider Caramel Sauce

When I first saw this pin, and saw that it included pumpkin, apple cider, and cinnamon, I couldn't contain my excitement. Three of my favorite things combined to make one tasty cake? Count me in! However, I was a little skeptical about how good this recipe was going to be based on the amount of times it had been pinned. Is that weird? I am always skeptical when I see that some photo has been repinned 50,000 times, but no one has ever commented and said how it tasted, or anything. Maybe it's just me.

Anyway, I decided to give the recipe a try one cold Saturday afternoon. Despite following the instructions, my cake was not perfect. I cooked it for 30 minutes, as the recipe stated, and pulled it out of the oven precisely when the timer went off. I let the cake cool for about a half hour, and when I returned, I found that the middle had completely sunk in. I did a quick Google search to see if my cake could be saved by popping it back in, but forums claimed my cake would turn into a brick. It was my fault entirely for not checking the center with a toothpick, but it looked cooked to me! Long story short - I would recommend baking this for about 40 minutes. Otherwise, you'll be stuck just eating the edge pieces like I did!

Here's what you'll need:

Pumpkin Cake

-1 cup sugar
-1 1/2 cup flour
-1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
-1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
-1/2 tsp. salt
-3/4 cup oil
-1 can pumpkin
-2 eggs

Cider Caramel Sauce 
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 tbsp. cornstarch
-2/3 cup apple cider
-2 tbsp. heavy cream (I used milk, which worked fine)
-1 tbsp. butter
-pinch of salt

1. For the cake, combine all dry ingredients in a stand mixer until mixed well.

2. Add oil, pumpkin, and eggs. Beat until combined.

3. Pour into a greased 9x13 cake pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes.

4. For the sauce, whisk together brown sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan.

5. Add cider, milk or cream, butter, and salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking the sauce constantly until bubbles form around the edges of the pan, or about 4 minutes.

6. Reduce heat to low, and allow the sauce to thicken.

Drizzle the sauce over your cake, and enjoy! Pin It

Monday, December 9, 2013

Thoughts on Winter White

Sweater: Tommy Bahama
Shirt: Delia*s Warehouse Sale
Skirt: J. Crew
Socks: Macy*s
Shoes: Lucky Brand

There's an unofficial fashion rule that you can't wear white after Labor Day. I don't know who first said that, but I have to disagree. Wearing cream or white, especially in the wintertime, can be so pretty and feminine. The key is to wear appropriate clothing for the season. It seems obvious, but I think that could be where the saying originated from. So when I recently saw this look on one of my favorite blogs, Pink Peonies, I was quite excited to recreate it in my own way. 

I started with this white sequined sweater that I got from my dad's favorite place on earth, Tommy Bahama. Typically, there's nothing in the women's department that I am particularly fond of, but I could not resist this glitzy sweater. On it's own, the sweater is rather lightweight, so it made more sense for me to layer with my favorite chambray button up than with a denim jacket like Rachel did in her post. I finished off with a cream J. Crew mini skirt, knee-high knit socks, and my beloved brown riding boots. I decide to pass on accessories, as I often do whenever I'm wearing sequins, and let my sparkly sweater stand on it's own. 
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